A bit green, a lot mean

Honda is ready­ing a new low-emis­sion road­ster, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE re­place­ment for the Honda S2000 has been re­vealed in Bri­tain. It’s a new drop­top built up from the hot Civic Type R.

Of­fi­cially, the next S2000 is known only as the Open Study Model and is be­ing dis­played at the Bri­tish In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show as a low-emis­sion road­ster.

But it does not take much dig­ging to dis­cover the car’s Civic roots and a pro­duc­tion plan for late next year or early 2010.

It is clearly re­lated to the Civic, and Honda in Ja­pan ad­mits it is work­ing on a front-drive twoseater to take over from the S2000 when pro­duc­tion ends next year.

The S2000 is 10 years old and its unique rear-wheel-drive me­chan­i­cal pack­age makes it very costly to make.

A Civic-based suc­ces­sor opens the way for a more af­ford­able re­place­ment and has the po­ten­tial for much higher sales.

Honda Aus­tralia is not say­ing much about the po­ten­tial for the Open Study Model.

‘‘It’s purely a con­cept hyrid sports car. It shows you can be green and sporty as well,’’ Honda spokesman Mark Hig­gins says.

‘‘The car was de­signed by our R&D cen­tre in Ger­many and is very much a Euro­pean cre­ation.’’

It is also a Civic-based cre­ation, with a dash­board that could have come straight from the cur­rent Type R hatch.

The car fol­lows a stronger ‘‘green’’ di­rec­tion by Honda, which pre­viewed the CR-Z as a hy­brid and has also put its FCX Clar­ity fuel-cell car into lim­ited pro­duc­tion.

Honda says the de­sign brief for the Open Study Model is ‘‘clean and dy­namic’’, an approach that means the rear of the body ex­tends into the cabin be­tween the seats.

Much of the car is taken from the Civic — in­clud­ing its hid­den front-drive me­chan­i­cal pack­age — and this runs right down to the gearshift in the cen­tre of the dash and a Type R-style ig­ni­tion start but­ton.

Euro­pean cre­ation: the new Honda two-seater takes many of its cues from the Civic Type R.

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